LILTING is still currently one of my favourite movies of 2015, I managed to see it at the Queer Screen Mardi Gras Film Festival earlier in the year and it blew me away, so powerful and cultural and starring one of my favourite actors on the planet, Ben Whishaw. I only posted this review back in March but lucky for y’all it is being released on DVD thanks to the fine folks at Transmission Films on May 27th and the best news, in celebration they have given us 5x copies on DVD to giveaway. So revisit our review, or read it for the first time, and find out how to win at the bottom. All the best……….JK


Ben Whishaw is one of my gods, one day in the future he will play THE DOCTOR and on that day we will get the best Doctor who ever lived. Whereas Zac Efron is my gay item of lust Ben is my item of love, I find him to be one of the best actors on the planet who is born to play roles with deep emotional currents but he also has geek appeal as Q in the new Bond movies. LILTING released in Europe in 2014 and is a brilliant piece of cinema, it came out for this year’s Queer Screen Mardi Gras Film Festival and, sadly for you, it has finished screening for the festival, good news is you can buy it on EBay and also on demand, but you will have to search for it, I could not find it on iTunes. I would assign it an MA15+ rating, it scored a festival 18+ rating (no idea why), it runs for 86mins and I urge you to see it, it is a cinematic sonnet of heartbreak and emotional cultural bridging, it is a MUST see for anyone who appreciates gay cinema. 




LILTING is a story about love and loss, Richard (Ben Whishaw) has lost his boyfriend Kai (Andrew Leung) who was run over, his life is shattered and turned upside down, but Kai also left behind a mother, Junn (Pei-pei Cheng), a mother who is in an elderly care facility, a basic, no frills, care facility. She is Chinese, does not speak English, does not know her son is even gay and is set in her ways, she refuses to assimilate to her local culture, in my own personal opinion, why should she? She is an elderly age and while not happy with life, is definitely comfortable in her routine.

Richard does not like, or I should say, does not understand, why Kai was happy to have his mother placed in incredibly modest accommodations and had talked Kai into having his mother move in with them, after Kai explained to his mother that they were together and that he was gay. The film is full of isolated people, Richard is isolated in his loneliness, loss and life, Junn is isolated in her own grief and life and while we see that Richard has friends outside of this isolation in Vann (Naomi Christie) who is a friend that helps him translate linguistic communication with Junn, that is it, he now lives alone and is encompassed by his grief. When we visit his home we also see no dishes washed, we see a man who is struggling to live without his Kai.




You may think this film is sounding incredibly sad and will require a lot of tissues, and to be honest, you are not wrong completely, it will require a lot of tissues, but it is also a happy film filled with humour and love, it is not a completely depressing film of tears, it is a film that is so beautiful it is like meditating while watching koi in a Chinese garden, the emotional connection of Junn and Richard is astounding. It is too cultures so swept up in their own worlds they originally fail to notice or even want anything to do with the other culture but due to mutual grief eventually and slowly, some might say begrudgingly, come together.

I am biased, I think Whishaw is one of the best actors on the planet, but I think I am justified, his portrayal is not all one of “support me, it is all about me, I am the character to support,” he is flawed in his grief and the way he is handling Junn. He fails to understand why Junn is happy the way she is and why Kai would allow her to live this way, he accuses Junn of failing to “assimilate” to contemporary British cultures, from reading other articles this is a classic colonialist statement, leaving us to reflect on why he himself did not do more to adapt himself to her ways. But my two cents added to this, is it that he fails to understand or is it that he feels a need to carry on where Kai left off and to look after and do all he can for Kai’s mother, is this nothing more than a sense of responsibility matched with grief?




LILTING is next level acting, this would make a superb play, it is a character study in this situation of complete cultural and life misunderstanding and the ways these differing cultural beliefs clouded in years of actual life make slow steps towards acceptance. Whishaw is a master at his craft and the subtle portrayals from both leads, (Whishaw and Cheng) are phenomenal. The dramatic nature of this film is so subtle, it is miles in front of recent dramatical films that feel the need to ram it down your throat through over the top acting, in this, it feels real, it just happens and through this it accomplishes levels of drama that are worthy of awards. Speaking of which, it won the Cinematography award at Sundance, a definite worthy award, the cinematography and artistic direction of this film embraces the mood of the film, it is mostly shot fairly dark and the set design in the old people’s home matches the mood, it is old and simple and every set is basic and there to show isolation and simplicity but at the same time it is beautiful and matches, frame by frame, the tone of the movie.




This film will not be for everyone, it is deep and emotional but it cuts through the usual crap Hollywood serves up and gives us a beautiful film worthy of the title “drama.” If you love an actor’s film with outstanding performances and something that will leave you thinking, and/or discussing over a slice of cake and tea after, then get LILTING on your screen!


4 and a Half Pops


With special thanks to Transmission Films to win one of the 5X DVDs of LILTING you need to either like and share/ retweet this post on Facebook/Twitter/ Google+/ Pinterest/ LinkedIn/ Flipboard or Instagram (all the links to follow us are on the top right of homepage), you then need to leave a comment below stating the answer/s to the following questions:

What is your favourite movie with the theme of grief and loss? BEACHES and GHOST are two that resonate strong with me, but at the forefront of my mind from the last couple of years are X+Y and then EXTREMELY LOUD AND INCREDIBLY CLOSE – that destroyed me :),

If you do not have social media then get with the times – you can still enter, leave your entry below and email me at telling me you don’t have social media (you still need to enter on the website).

Prizes will no longer be awarded to first in first served. It will now be a game of skill and selected purely on the thoughts of the judges, said judges being the Salty Kernels.

The prizes will be sent after JUNE 15th! Good luck! Oh, and minor housekeeping – huge apologies for overseas readers, this competition is only available to Australian residents.



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